Ask Dr. Eldritch

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Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

Dear Dr. Eldritch,
I'm a loathsome tentacle-headed alien god, come here to Earth to build an empire of worshippers, but it's just not working! Every time I appear to a coven of dark practitioners (you know, in a big burst of flame and oily smoke), they're all like "Cthulhu! Cthulhu has awoken!" and I'm like "No, I'm Shazzorthogzealmanonuroth the Awful!" So they're all "Shazbot-lee-roth? Never heard of you." Talk about a blow to the ego!

Even if I make some of them contort in Horrid Paroxysms of Pain until they all agree to worship me, I can tell their hearts really aren't in it. The ichor-dripping monstrosities they summon to do my bidding are really lame, and wouldn't terrify a child. And as soon as I leave to find other worshippers, they go back to whatever they were doing and forget about me. It's so depressing.

I figured I should learn more about my competition, so I forced some grad students tell me about this Cthulhu. What a sweet deal he's got! All he does is sleep at the bottom of the ocean, and he's got legions of cult members and a host of grotesque spawn to do his bidding. Sure, he's suppose to rule the world someday, but he hasn't even done anything yet. It's just not fair.

I mean, I'm here, I'm perfectly hideous in my own right, and yet I'm not getting a slice of the pie. What can I do to win some of the fearsomely-malignant-tentacled-god-worshipper demographic over to my side?

-- Shazzorthogzealmanonuroth the Awful, now of Earth

Dear Shazzorthogzealmanonuroth,

Of all the planets in all the galaxies, you pick a one where someone's already snagged the "Evil Corpulent Octopoid Deity" job! What bad luck!

I'd like to offer you some comforting words, but you face a difficult uphill battle. My race puts tremendous stock in brand recognition. For example, numerous companies on this planet produce brownish carbonated beverages that taste like artificially-sweetened battery acid. However, only two makers of these "cola" products dominate the market, and while these behemoths fight a never-ending cola war, the other manufacturers scramble for the tiny leftover scraps of market share and try to avoid being crushed by the battling leviathans. The odd thing is that consumers really can't tell the difference between their products (nor does anyone actually enjoy cola flavor), but everybody's latched onto one major brand or the other as their beverage of choice, and no off-brand can compete. It's just the way we are. Sorry.

This leaves you in an awkward position. You could hire a big PR firm and campaign for name-recognition of your own, but unless you can show some clear superiority over your competition, it will be a tough sell to wrestle cult members away from their Tentacled God of Choice. You could pretend to be Cthulhu, but that will cause major problems when that sleeping deity awakens and finds an imposter hogging the glory. Are you open to a career change? Lots of modern corporations have places for the morally flexible. I suspect, however, than while you might temporarily enjoy denying insurance claims or collecting on high-interest payday loans, these jobs won't be quite evil enough to satisfy you in the long run.

Your best bet is to relocate. It's a big Universe, and I'm sure there's a place for you out there. Wouldn't you be happier with a planet where your cultish worshippers eagerly accept your unwholesome rule, rather than always being known as "the tentacled god that isn't Cthulhu?" It may take quite a bit of time to find another suitable world for you to dominate, but what's Time to an Immortal Being? Boldly go to where Shazzorthogzealmanonuroth is the choice of the New Generation!

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!

-- Dr. Eldritch

(DISCLAIMER: Anyone intelligent enough to be reading this should understand 1) Satire, and 2) That following the advice given may result in physical, mental, or spiritual harm to beings living, dead, or undead. The author does not suggest that anyone other that the originator of any given letter follow his advice, and cannot be held liable if anyone else does.
If you need more, read this Advanced Disclaimer!) All content © 2005 Evan M. Nichols